Studies have shown that delays in early literacy become magnified the further a child’s education continues, with children rarely catching up to expected learning levels not just in reading but also in most other subjects where children read to learn (Irwin, Moore, Tornatore & Fowler, 2012). However resources are available which can not only teach early literacy skills, but which can also be used as remedial tools to address difficulties a child may have in learning to read and write.
One of those tools is the ABC Reading Eggs online reading program which is targeted at children aged between 3 and 7 years old. The program, developed by a team of ‘educational teachers, writers and developers’ and focuses upon phonics and sight words to build a child’s vocabulary, reading comprehension and reading fluency (Blake eLearning, 2014). Considering that the six foundational skills of reading and writing are ‘print awareness, print motivation, vocabulary, narrative skills, letter awareness and phonological awareness’ (Yarra Plenty Regional Council, 2011), targeting three of the six skills he electronic resource is likely to increase a child’s literacy levels.
ABC Reading Eggs offers 120 lessons full of animation, sound and repetitive actions with children being rewarded for completing lessons with mini games and collectable characters which they can interact with. Before a child begins the program they complete a skills assessment to ensure they enter the program at the correct level. Children also complete regular quizzes to access learning achievements and parents have easy access to reports on the child’s progress and areas where the child needs further lessons. ABC Reading Eggs has complementary materials available in paper and CD-ROM formats to reinforce lessons learned online. Access to this learning tool is subscription based although free trials are offered for private use.
The ABC Reading Eggs program has received rave reviews not only from parents (How To Be A Domestic Disgrace, 2012, October 24) and parenting groups (SingleMum.com.au, 2014), but also from professionals in education. Daball (2014) notes that the program is highly educational and its entertaining and colourful activities make the program a great supplemental education tool, he also notes the program was successfully used with students learning to speak English. Bowen (2014), who used the ABC Reading Eggs program in a class room setting with special educational needs children, found that the children viewed the program more as a game than a learning tool and as such were motivated to continue to use the program and subsequently improved their reading skills.
Reviewing and researching this electronic resource has highlighted for me gaps in my knowledge that occurred because I never experienced the situation or thought about it. As someone who loves to read and who has never struggled to read, it never occurred to me to link difficulty reading with a reluctance to read. It was a definite ‘Duh!’ moment for me. Similarly the notion that signalling out children as ‘special needs’ and providing them with extra teaching can lower a child’s self esteem was one I was oblivious to. By becoming aware of the emotional responses children may have to assistance with or challenges to their education, as a children’s librarian I can better tailor library resources and programs to meet the educational, cultural and emotional needs of the children I serve.
Blake eLearning. (2014). ABC reading eggs: About. Retrieved January 22, 2014, from http://readingeggs.com.au/about/
Bowen, M. (2014). Reading eggs. Retrieved January 22, 2014, from http://teemeducation.org.uk/teem-evaluations/primary-reviews-and-evaluations/reading-eggs-literacy
Daball, J. (2014). Reading eggs. Teach Primary, Retrieved January 22, 2014, from http://www.teachprimary.com/tried_and_tested/view/reading-eggs
How To Be A Domestic Disgrace. (2012, October 24). Reading eggs review. Retrieved January 22, 2014, from http://howtobeadomesticdisgrace.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/reading-eggs-review.html
Irwin, J., Moore, D., Tornatore, L. & Fowler, A. (2012). Expanding on early literacy: Promoting emerging language and literacy during storytime. Children & Libraries, Summer/Fall, 20-28.
SingleMum.com.au. (2014). ABC reading eggs product review. Retrieved January 22, 2014, from http://singlemum.com.au/product-reviews/product-review-abc-reading-eggs.html
Yarra Plenty Regional Library. (2011) Children’s Services Strategic Framework 2007 – 2012, Retrieved December 9, 2013 from http://filestore.yprl.vic.gov.au/StrategicFrameworks/Childrens%20Service%20Strategy%20final.pdf